Tyler Lopes and Google Me put down early marker at harness racing season opener
Tyler Lopes and Google Me put down an early marker during the 2021-22 harness racing season opener at the Bermuda Equestrian Centre last weekend.
Lopes steered the Indiana-bred mare to the day’s fastest time of 1:04.3 competing in the Free for All division showcasing the fastest harness ponies on the island.
“She is a fantastic mare and I didn’t really expect her to go that fast,” Lopes said. “I also didn’t ask her to go that fast, she was pretty much running on loose lines from start to finish.
“In fact, she felt like she wanted to go very early for sure and hopefully it will just get better from here.”
Google Me holds the overall track record and mare’s record, which stands at 1:01.1, and is the only mare to win the coveted Champion of Champions crown to date.
Lopes, who was a double heat winner, retired the pony in 2020 but has since had a change of heart.
“She has been in and out of retirement and everybody teases me about it,” he added.
“But this is probably going to be her last year, so pretty much she is going to give it everything she has got and see what we got left in the tank.”
Lopes is encouraged by the mare’s early season form.
“Getting ready and training her down and stuff she feels great,” he said. “For me personally I have never felt her feel this good.
“I went back and watched the video and she looks a lot more comfortable. That could be maturity or a sign that she’s got more speed and we just have to wait and see.”
Also making their presence felt at the Vesey Street racetrack were Kiwon Waldron and Tahzil Flood who achieved three wins each, the most of the day.
Flood won the opening heat in the 1:06.1 – 1:08 division with Belhaven Stables’s gelding, Inwood’s Realist, and both heats the same time bar with his own gelding, Rock On.
Waldron’s wins also came on two different ponies. He guided Burrows Family’s mare, Reign of Terror, to victory in the 1:05.1 – 1:06 division before sweeping both heats in the same division with Scott Constable’s mare, Gold Legacy, which lived up her name.
“It wasn’t a bad day,” Waldron said. “I thought the horses performed pretty well.
“For the first race day being out I was pretty happy with them. They were sharp enough and lucky enough one of them was a double heat winner.”
As for the trying wet and windy conditions, Waldron added: “Conditions were not the greatest. Obviously the track was not very fast, it was heavy and slow.
“But everybody was on the same playing field so the best horse won at that time.”
Female drivers also stamped their authority during the season opener.
Kamali Tucker swept both heats in the 1:08.1 – 1:11.3 division with Belhaven Stable’s gelding, Captain Chaos.
Andrea Westerfield won the first heat of the day in the Free for All with J & A Peniston’s mare, Reel Patrol.
Catrina Stephens was also victorious with Burrows Family’s mare, Shady Maple, in the 1:05.1- 1:06 division.